Victims and self-help groups from across the country gathered in front of the legislature yesterday in a protest that urged the government to recognize the harm caused to the public by extremely low frequency (ELF) and electromagnetic radiation.
Tseng Pi-ching (曾碧清), a woman in a wheelchair, said she has been suffering from leukemia since 1994 after 11 years working as a cartographer for long hours in an office exposed to electromagnetic radiation at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.
Eight other workers at the company aged between 29 and 38 had also been diagnosed with leukemia, she said.
After years of failed attempts to file for occupational accident compensation from the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), the Taipei High Administrative Court eventually ruled that Tseng’s illness was indeed an occupational accident caused by a harmful work environment.
Tseng said she joined the protest because she doesn’t want any more people to have to work in the same situation.
Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA) founder and chairperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) expressed the hope that government agencies would at least recognize that electromagnetic radiation is capable of causing cancer and take stricter precautionary measures against the possible harm to the public.
The group made the appeal ahead of a public hearing at the legislature to discuss such issues.
The public hearing, held by the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, discussed issues pertaining to environmental impact, cancer prevention, public nuisance control and administrative regulation of ELF and electromagnetic radiation.
Two main issues discussed at the hearing were whether long-term ELF exposure has an effect on health, what the limit of exposure should be and how administrative regulation, drafted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), should be amended.
The reference level for exposure to ELF suggested by the EPA is 833mG, but TEPCA along with academics and doctors at the hearing said that was based on guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for transient or very short-term peak fields and that it should not be used to regulate long-term exposure.
They urged a limitation of 2mG for long-term exposure to ELF, the same level allowable at the workplaces of government agencies.
According to a written report provided to the legislature by the EPA, the ICNIRP modified the reference level from 833mG to 2,000mG last year.
Asked whether the EPA would raise the reference level, Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Hsieh Yein-rui (謝燕儒) said the agency had no intention to do so.
According to the latest amendments to the Telecommunications Act (電信法) and the Power Industry Act (電業法), high-voltage pylons and high-voltage sub-stations cannot be constructed within a certain distance of schools and hospitals, Hsieh said.
He said the agency would seek the advice of specialists and further consider how far the distance should be and whether to amend the regulations.
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
National Taiwan University Hospital’s (NTUH) Ethical Review Committee on Tuesday approved the hospital’s application to conduct human trials of mixed Moderna and Medigen COVID-19 vaccines. The hospital yesterday said that 220 volunteers aged 20 to 70 who have received one dose of a Moderna vaccine eight to 12 weeks ago are to be enrolled in the program. The volunteers are to be separated into two groups — a treatment group and a control group — and a double-blind study would be conducted, assigning Medigen or Moderna vaccines to the groups on a random basis, it said. The trial is expected to start
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two
TAIWAN TIES: The foreign ministry said like-minded nations continue to express support for Taiwan’s ties with Lithuania, highlighting a letter by Slovenia’s PM US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday saluted Lithuania’s championing of democracy in Taiwan and Belarus. Lithuania in July agreed to let Taiwan open a representative office using its own name, prompting a pressure campaign by China. “We stand against economic coercion, including that being exerted by China,” Blinken said as he welcomed Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis in Washington. “We stand strongly for democracy, including in Belarus, where we’re very much working together,” Blinken said. Landsbergis told reporters afterward that he and Blinken discussed “economic, financial, political measures” that can be taken to withstand Chinese pressure. “We discussed various possible measures